Scientists at Durham University are using a £950,000 NERC grant to find out when and where dogs first became domesticated. They are examining bones of wolves and dogs.
The earliest conclusive evidence showed dogs have been pets for about 14,000 years, but theories now suggest it could have been for as long as 35,000 years.
"Just about everything associated with domestication is really about the beginnings of farming. Except dogs.
"Dogs were domesticated by hunter-gatherers at least 3,000-5,000 years before agriculture and possibly tens of thousands of years earlier."
The three year project starts in October.
More top news
Spennymoor FC were visiting Newton Aycliffe on Tuesday evening and refused to play the second half of the match.
Eric Thomson says within hours of the stem cell treatment he began to regain some control of his body.
The programme for looked-after children replaces traditional council-run care homes with hubs. Its been recommended in a national report.